The Polish feature, Ida, is a plausible candidate for the Best Foreign Film category this season. It's the story of a young orphaned girl very soon to take her vows to become a nun in 1960s Poland only to discover that she A) is Jewish and B) still has a living relative.
The director, Pawel Pawlikowski masterfully paints a picture of a Poland still struggling to come back from a war it didn't start. His choice to go black and white certainly adds a different life to the film. And he manages to direct a first time actress to a particularly intriguing performance. Trying to understand how it is that Anna (played by Agata Trzebuchowska) thinks and sees the world cannot have been an easy feet. She is, by all stretches of the imagination, an absolute stranger to me. Her mind is almost locked up too tight... but then a brief moment of emotion will come and stir things up making her perspective almost make legitimate sense. Though of course I've never met or known anyone living in even remotely similar circumstances as her.
But I digress. While Agata Trzebuchowska gives an admirable performance, I can't ignore the wonderful job Agata Kulesza did in the role of Wanda, the unflinching and surprisingly disturbed aunt. Kulesza plays this part with a wonderful and confusing sort of ecstasy. But I feel like, from the moment she comes on screen, I understand her. I'll take a step back and say, I'm impressed.
Now Ida is not my favorite movie of the year. Far from it. But in this increasingly packed Oscar season, this is a good one to catch. It's easy to access on Netflix instant, and it is a film of real quality set in a place and time I don't think we get to see very much. If you wanna catch a film with multiple quality female performances, you need look no further.